October 7, 2023 – Lessons for the field of security

Article author: Miky Weinberg – Owner of the Tarantula Technologies Ltd and Octagon Security Ltd Companies.

The Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, was largely carried out by a small (3000 fighters), skilled, and brutal army, causing severe harm to innocent civilians in settlements and IDF camps in the Gaza area. Hamas succeeded in surprising Israel in a big way and thus achieved many hours in which its fighters operated in the field almost without interruption and counter-reaction or while fighting against Israeli forces that were small in number and with an amount of ammunition that usually had no chance of winning. The Israeli response against the Hamas forces was carried out by the IDF, the Israel Police, the Israel Security Agency, quick reaction forces in localities and many brave citizens. Naturally, since this is a type of war, all the state security agencies in Israel have already carried out initial investigations in order to derive lessons that they must apply in the future. Although the tendency to think that the attack characteristics of the Hamas organization are mainly related to the field of actions and responsibilities of the state security agencies, there is an obligation to carry out a process of learning lessons for the civilian security sector in Israel as well, with a thorough knowledge of the adversary’s actions and the response – a process that will examine in depth issues such as the working assumptions in the context of [civilian] security, the definition of threats, knowing the adversary and his/her capabilities, the level of preparedness in the ability to detect and react, safeguarding the lives of employees and civilians, cooperation with friendly forces and even medicine. The events of October 7- 23 should send every CEO and/or security manager on duty to perform the following actions:


To know the reasons for the success of the Hamas organization against Israel:

Perpetrating a strategic thinking deception over the last few years that caused the leadership in Israel to think that Hamas does not intend to carry out actions beyond firing rockets at Israeli settlements and that the results of the Israeli response in all its response operations created a strong deterrent against it.

Hamas gathered high-quality intelligence on the capabilities of the IDF in the south, on all the IDF bases and the various settlements in the Gaza area, and on the technological and physical response capabilities, all with the help of the information published on social media and media networks in Israel, Gazan workers who worked inside the settlements, diversionary operations within the border fence, and information received from Iran.

Hamas planned and organized the attack for over a year with a high compartmentalization ability within the organization until shortly before the time of execution and perfect compartmentalization against the Israeli intelligence capabilities. Carrying out training and preparations in the field in a way that appeared to Israel as “just” another routine training of the organization.

An operational and professional action plan that succeeded beyond expectations thanks to its adaptation to the intelligence gathered, a strategy that included intensive rocket fire to get the soldiers in the camps and the civilians in the settlements into the security rooms for a longer time than usual and a diversion for the operation to breach the fence barrier, breaching the fence barrier by engineering tools and explosive charges in about 30 different places, the entry and initial attack by fighters riding motorcycles, widening the holes in the fence for entry and attack by fighters riding vans and at the end the entry of a hateful mob hungry for revenge.

Operational planning resulted in the creation of a clear advantage in the number of fighters and in the amount of weapons against the Israeli reaction forces.

Choosing a time for the attack early in the morning on a Saturday when Israel was celebrating Simchat Torah.


Knowing how the Israeli forces in the settlements, bases, and in the field responded:

It took time for the quick reaction forces in the settlements and IDF camps to understand that this was a combined attack of missile fire and infantry.

Factually, a standby force that managed to come to its senses quickly and created a determined response by shooting at the terrorists prevented them from entering the settlements and even made them retreat back.

An entrance complex that includes a massive electric console gate was able to primarily delay the entry of the terrorists into the settlements.

Fighting as a team while demonstrating personal courage, determination to win, creativity in combat, and willingness to go to the end caused the opponent many losses and in some settlements even subdued the attackers.

In fact, the quick-reaction forces found themselves fighting the enemy alone for long hours without receiving assistance from reinforcements.


A re-examination of the working security assumptions that determine the strategy of the organization, company, business, etc. in regards to the attributed threat and its adaptation to the current and future situation of the State of Israel regarding criminal and terroristic attacks. The Hamas attack on October 7-23 clearly illuminated the price that can be paid because of an excessive “infatuation” with assumptions. An examination of the working assumptions should be carried out at least once a year or immediately when an emergency occurs.


The derivation of the threats from the security work assumptions that include the threats defined by the guiding agencies and/or threats that are relevant and specific to the security object. A professional analysis must be performed from the point of view of the attacker in order to know and understand well the capabilities of the criminal or terroristic adversary and above all to be able to detail how each threat can be realized in the entire security object. It is important to understand the risk of any threat when the security object is open during operating hours and houses employees and visitors or when it is closed and without people inside.


Extreme threats are defined as a “black swan” and the belief that an event of this type can occur at any given time and without prior warning and the level of damage it can cause especially where it is placed in risk management. The Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, proved unequivocally that it is worth believing that an extreme event can really occur and that the result cannot be devastating to the point of a real threat to the continued existence of the security object.


The realization of the responsibility of the license holder and/or the CEO to perform security after the stage of defining the threats will be reflected in the definition of a budget that will allow the recruitment of a professional security manager or an external security consultant, and the maintenance of security as will be defined in the designated security portfolio. I think that the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023 significantly reduced those who would say that a certain threat, especially an extremist threat, would not materialize in their area of ​​responsibility.


Defining the operational response to all the established threats, including a response to an extreme threat:  The response must include the ability to detect the threat, classify the threat, and activate a quick and determined response. We understood that the longer the response, the greater the damage. Detection can be carried out by a physical force/team and/or by technological means. The Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, proved that failure to detect the realization of the threat causes a significant delay in a determined and effective response to achieve deterrence and cannot prevent the beginning of the damage and that as a general rule, one must not rely on the detection array that is solely based on technological means.


Choosing physical and technological measures that are suitable for the characteristics of the area, for the sectors that must be closed or monitored, and that these will indeed be the best response to the threats. One of the key lessons in the context of the physical measures from October 7 to October 2023 is the importance of installing a massive, electric entrance gate along the perimeter fence line and installing iron doors and/or roller blinds at the entrances to buildings that can be closed by close or remote control and will be an obstacle that will delay the enemy’s progress inside. A great many security managers fail in choosing the right technological means mainly due to a lack of professional knowledge in the field, therefore it is important to remember that the greatness of a person is that he/she knows how to define what he does not know how to do and is skilled in using professionals for this purpose.


The personnel and their readiness to deal with all threats, including extreme threats: Guided agencies recruit security personnel in accordance with the standard required of them, while, in contrast, non-guided entities have to decide for themselves what the level and scope of security personnel will be and in accordance with what the law allows them in this matter. In both acquaintances, there is an obligation to ensure that the security personnel are professional and skilled at such a level that they can detect the realization of a threat and react accordingly. The Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, proved that a quick and determined response against the enemy succeeds in stopping him/her and even driving him/her away.

The role of the employees and visitors at the security object: The section on responding to threats in the security portfolio must include reference to the employees and visitors who will be at the security object during an attack by the adversary. This means that it is necessary to guide the employees to carry out preventive behavior and to behave in the event of an emergency and to define a team of employees as security trustees who will perform actions in the event of an emergency, to place security signage at the security object that will be accessible and visible to visitors and to guide the security personnel to perform actions to protect them. According to the characteristics of the area and the existing structures in the security object, [defensive] rings must be defined for the fortification of the security personnel, the workers, and the visitors, where each ring will have the ability to react decisively against the enemy’s attack.


Friendly forces: Precisely because on October 7, 2023, the reinforcement forces were very late in arriving to fight against the enemy, there is an obligation to define and recognize who the allied forces are for reinforcements in the sector of the security object, what is the mission and operational capacity of each force, how long will it take each force to reach the security object and how will the integration be carried out to him in the field. It is important to carry out periodic coordination with all the allied forces and at least joint training once a year.


Medicine: Medical preparedness can save human lives in the field, so it is necessary to decide what level of medical measures will be placed at the security object, and this depends on its location and the number of workers and visitors staying there at any given time. Today, the basic medical level includes first aid kits and defibrillators. It is important to know where is the nearest hospital and the routes to get there.


In summary:

To our great regret, we learned in the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, what price is paid for “falling in love” with working assumptions related to the adversary and threats from it, failure to detect the threat in time, lack of preparedness at the level of response and delay in the arrival of allied forces for reinforcements. We learned that one must not underestimate the opponent at any stage and certainly one must not decide that the opponent has transformed from being an opponent to a saintly person – the fact that the opponent does not attack does not mean that he or she is not preparing to attack. Whoever is defined as an adversary will always prepare himself or herself for an attack and carry it out at the time, place, and method of action that suits him or her – obviously he or she will act when he or she thinks that the security target is weak and vulnerable. To increase the chance of early detection of the threat materializing and to be able to produce a quick and effective response, the security plan must be implemented perfectly over time. The Hamas attack on the 7th of October 2023 determined that those who think that an extreme event cannot occur in their sector will find themselves surprised and will pay a heavy and irreparably high price for it.


Remember, that “security should be maintained” with the belief that any threat can materialize, including an extreme threat!!!


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